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Taking Prices – Hints to help you secure the top bookmakers’ prices

Set your minimum value point

Before you even look at the live markets, you should have calculated the minimum price you are prepared to accept for your intended bet. Never be tempted to bet at shorter prices than your minimum value point.

Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) bookmakers

Wherever possible, use Best Odds Guaranteed bookmakers. If you take an early price and the subsequent SP is bigger than the price you took, you will be paid at the bigger price. Best Odds Guaranteed bookmakers for each event are highlighted at Oddschecker.

Use odds comparison sites

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

These are crucial in comparing the prices on offer. The main odds comparison sites are: Oddschecker, Easyodds,

However, don't click through to place your bets directly from odds comparison sites. Bookmakers can monitor this behaviour and may penalise you if you consistently hit their top prices using this method, so open a new window to log into your chosen bookmaker's site.

Monitor the Betfair exchange price

Once a Betfair exchange market is reasonably well-formed (i.e., the Book% is less than 110%), then the behaviour of bookmakers' prices can be confidently anticipated.

Generally speaking, bookmakers' prices will mirror trends on the Betfair exchange. If a Betfair exchange price starts to shorten, bookmakers' prices will follow suit and vice versa (or at least when a Betfair exchange price drifts, bookmakers' prices will either be held or lengthen, but they generally won't shorten). Betfair exchange trend graphs (Price/Volume over time) are useful for monitoring exchange price patterns and fluctuations.

Knowing when to snap up an early price

Sometimes you can be confident that a bookmaker's early price is unlikely to get any bigger and may, in fact, shorten fairly soon. Here's an example: You have decided to bet at 6/4 (2.50) or bigger. The Betfair exchange market is reaching a reasonably well-formed state (less than 110%) and is currently showing a Back price of 3.10. In addition, there is plenty of backers' money waiting to be matched at 3.15, 3.20, and 3.25. There are four bookmakers currently quoting. Three of them are offering 2/1 (3.00) and the other is offering 9/4 (3.25). The Betfair exchange trend graph (Price/Volume over time) shows a recent downward trend (price contracting). This situation cries out for the 9/4 to be taken. It is likely to disappear shortly, and so might some of the 2/1 (3.00).

Knowing when to wait

Sometimes it is far from obvious that a bookmaker's early price is the best you are likely to be offered. Here's an example: You have decided to bet at 6/4 (2.50) or bigger. The night before the race there are two bookmakers offering 2/1 (3.00). The Betfair exchange market is reaching a reasonably well-formed state (less than 110%) and is currently showing a Back price of 3.20. This is a waiting time. If the Betfair exchange price drifts to say 3.50, then at least one of the bookmakers may go 9/4 (3.25) or a new bookmaker may come in at 9/4 (3.25) or even 5/2 (3.50). Later, the Betfair exchange price may swing back the other way, down to 3.20 again. I would then take the 5/2 (3.50) straight away and probably the 9/4 (3.25) too, remembering that my lowest value point is 6/4 (2.50).

Often, it is better to wait than to immediately snap up the best current bookmaker price, especially if only two or three firms have opened their markets.

Heavy support

Heavy support for a runner, particularly when it occurs over a short period of time during the early stages of a market, can result in its price being cut to an artificially low level. Once that burst of support has dried up, the price will begin to drift back out again as layers recognise that it has become too short.

Consider betting in stages

The very top price for any bet will almost always appear on the Betfair exchange, rather than with a bookmaker, but recognising when that peak has been reached is difficult and you can never know for sure when it has arrived. For this reason, many investors like to make their bets in stages. You don't always need to stake your intended amount in one go. The trend graphs at the Betfair exchange (Price/Volume over time) are useful when you can't sit and watch price developments.

Be ready early

The reason I prepare my bets very early (they are ready, at the latest, in the early evening for the following day's racing) is to give investors every chance of hitting the top prices. Bookmakers are now pricing up virtually every race the night before, thereby presenting investors with more opportunities to exploit. Being ready early provides options of going in straight away, waiting, or betting in stages. Utilising these techniques, then assessing the wisdom of your decisions with the benefit of hindsight, will improve your performance greatly. Your anticipation will become much keener, and you will start to hit bigger prices on a regular basis.

The main objective

Come race time, everyone likes to be sat on the biggest price that was ever available, especially if the horse is going off at far shorter odds. However, the important thing is that you have secured a price which is bigger than your minimum value point. Regardless of whether that happens to be the very top price, if you are achieving this basic but crucial objective consistently with virtually every bet you make, your investment will thrive in the long term.

Steve Jones

Professional Betting Advice and Strategy (2000-22)

Featured Image: Image by Jan-martijn Verlaan from Pixabay

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